We all know that employee behaviour is core to business success, but sometimes even those demonstrating the perfect workplace skills and behaviours have to change with the times.
While new technologies such as automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are widely viewed as both disruptive to whole industries and a threat to people’s jobs, a recent study by PwC exploring the views of 10,000 people on the workforce of the future found that 73 percent of people don’t believe that technology can ever replace the human mind.
Whether or not this proves to be true, such technologies are already disrupting the ways in which people go about their daily job roles, therefore their skills and behaviours must change too. The same survey also found that 74 percent of those questioned are willing to learn new skills or re-train to remain employable in the future.
It’s important for businesses adapting to disruptions, whether technological or not, to invest in recruiting, developing and maintaining the right behaviours to ensure they remain agile in a rapidly changing world. When approaching behavioural change, there are three key elements that must be considered:
- Basic behaviours - for example being courteous to colleagues, being honest, being dedicated and hardworking.
- Workplace skills – those needed to be effective in a particular role, for example making sure an employee is able to make decisions, negotiate effectively or lead virtual teams.
- Business processes - the ability to navigate and implement the businesses ways of working, for example following the sales process, implementing the performance management process etc.
The process of inspiring required behaviour in your employees can be achieved in five easy steps:
- Identify and document the processes, skills and behaviours that you want to instil in your employees.
This should happen at all levels including corporate, department, team and individual level. The chosen behaviours must be measurable against the business’ objectives. Behavioural change can only be successful if the desired processes, skills and behaviours are aligned to the business’ vision, goals and values.
- Communicate the behaviours that you require, both generally as a business but also on an individual basis.
Behavioural change cannot be achieved unless those driving the change and those expected to undergo change are aligned in their understanding of what is required.
- Establish the most suitable solution for enabling the desired change in behaviour.
It could be a tailored training course, coaching from a manager or mentoring from another colleague, but once an effective programme has been put into place, it is important that those instigating the training walk the talk. The business must demonstrate the behaviours that it expects from its employees. If, for example, innovation is the desired behaviour then the business needs to demonstrate its innovative capabilities. This must happen from the senior management level down and can be perpetuated through incentives such as internal competitions and prizes for achievements in innovation.
- Observe employee behaviour so that changes can be identified and monitored.
This can be achieved through department managers recognising and recording the development of each desired behaviour. It is important that managers feedback on behaviours and intervene when necessary to ensure that employees are on the right track to achieving successful behavioural change. Managers must also be mindful of external forces that can affect change within their teams, such as market changes that can cause adjustments to the behaviours, skills and processes that the business requires.
- Reinforce and reward the new behaviours to ensure employees don’t revert to old behaviours.
This can be achieved by inspiring employees through success stories from other colleagues and regular updates on what the business has been able to achieve as a result of behavioural change. Finally, it is vital that employees are rewarded for the changes that they have achieved.
A key requirement for instilling behavioural change is to make sure the right individuals with the necessary skillsets are hired in the first place. When filling roles, businesses should consider possible disruptions, such as market fluctuations, and the skills that the correct candidates should have on standby, should those disruptions ever occur.
With the right behavioural training solution in place, individuals, teams, departments and entire organisations can excel in their roles and adapt quickly to disruption.